Long-term drought plan is essential
THE NSW Farmers’ Association has welcomed the Federal Government’s drought announcements, which focus on a long-term approach to drought management.
The measures announced at the Drought Summit in Canberra included the Future Drought Fund, a $3.9 billion initiative that aims to improve drought resilience, preparedness and recovery across regional Australia.
The fund will provide grants to assist primary producers, non-government organisations and regional communities to prepare for and respond to the impact of drought.
It will also provide for services, research, the adoption of technology, advice and infrastructure to support long-term sustainability in the event of drought, through capital or ongoing initiatives.
Other announcements included:
■ $50 million for stock watering infrastructure on drought-affected farms.
■ The number of councils eligible for funding under the Drought Communities Programme to increase from 60 to 81.
■ $11m to expand services under the Empowering Communities initiative at the six existing Primary Health Networks (subject to drought) and the addition of two new PHNs in the Nepean Blue Mountains and Southeast regions.
■ $30 million for selected charities to continue supporting farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers who are facing hardship arising from drought.
NSW Farmers’ Association president James Jackson said taking a long-term approach to drought management planning was essential.
“There isn’t a one-size-fitsall approach to drought management,” he said.
“It requires a multi-pronged approach that will inevitably change as drought continues.”